Finding a neutral pelvic position is essential for properly engaging your core and keeping your body in a strong and stable position. Doing so can allow your body to generate more force while reducing the risk of injury. This is why your chiropractor or physiotherapist will often use this as a starting point before having you initiate any rehabilitation exercise. The problem is, if no one is watching then how do you know whether or not you are in the right position? This blog discusses how to find neutral pelvic position and provide you with 2 simple cues to find it.
Understanding Pelvic Tilt:
Pelvic tilt refers to the position of the pelvis in relation to the ribcage and rest of the body. Incorrect positions can be broken down into 2 main categories: anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt. This can be assessed through a thorough postural assessment, but a useful way to check at home is to assess your breathing. Your diaphragm is designed to contract down into your pelvis. By changing your pelvic positioning, your body will be forced to expand in different areas and restrict overall airflow. We go into more detail about both positions and how they affect your breath below:
Anterior Pelvic Tilt: This occurs when the front of the pelvis drops forward, causing an exaggerated curvature in the lower back. It can result from muscular imbalances, such as tight hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles, as well as prolonged sitting or poor posture. In this position your abdomen is stretched, forcing you to breathe through your upper chest.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt: In contrast, posterior pelvic tilt involves the backward rotation of the pelvis, leading to a flattening of the lower back curve. It may stem from tight lower back muscles, weak abdominal muscles, or imbalances in hip extensors and flexors. In this position the abdomen is relaxed, forcing air through your belly.
Finding the right position can be difficult, especially when muscle imbalances have developed overtime. Many chiropractors and physiotherapists use complicated cues that require significant conscious effort that takes away focus from the exercise you are trying to perform. By understanding its relationship to your breath it can become much easier to find on your own. Here are 2 ways you can do this on your own:
- Find where you can take the deepest breath
Whether you are in an anterior or posterior pelvic tilt, your breath will be restricted. While setting up for an exercise, try finding the position where you can most easily take the deepest breath. This may feel unnatural at first because of the muscle imbalances you may have developed overtime. Your body needs to breathe and the position you can do this with ease is where everything will function the most efficiently. If that is still difficult for you to find, here is an even simpler cue:
- Stand as tall as possible
This is done by reaching the crown of your head through the ceiling when standing up. When on your back or in a quadruped position, reach your head through to the wall. By elongating the spine, the ribcage and pelvis should naturally fall into a neutral position. This tension may make it feel like taking a deep breath is difficult. However, breathing should feel more evenly distributed through the chest, back and abdomen.
These cues are effective and require little to no effort to maintain during an exercise. Using these solutions allow my clients to put greater focus on their rehabilitation. Even more important, they are something I can recommend to everyone without watching them move. My goal as a chiropractor / sports performance practitioner is to provide my clients simple tools to complex problems. This empowers them to feel confident they are moving and performing right when they leave my office.